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  • By Daniel Leach

In Celebration: 50 Years After Apollo 11 - Song of the Crab Nebula Or, "A Shadow of a Magnitude

The Crag Nebula

Long before the first eyes ever saw me

Floating like a ghost upon the night,

Long before human minds even feebly

Pierced beyond their dimly shrouded sight,

I was there, though clothed in different raiment,

Blazing like your own, my brother sun,

Over unimagined reaches distant,

When your infant world had just begun.

When your wise men looked upon the heavens,

I was but another shadowy form,

That no one guessed was the same which legends

Told of, dying in a fiery storm—

Filling all the sky with brilliant lightning,

When a spiritual darkness covered earth,

That, though darkened minds saw only dying,

Was the herald of my spirit’s birth!

Then I grew into a form more subtle

Than the human eye could ever see,

Veiled as in a diaphanous mantle,

Taunting your mind to discover me—

For within, a heart lies deeply hidden,

Beating with a silent pulse that sings,

Hurling unseen beams across Time’s chasm,

Like the thoughts that move all living things.

I was watching as your great explorers

Ventured on your planetary seas,

And when bolder minds dared to discover

Things beyond the senses’ certainties,

Waiting as you grew into a being

That could feel my coursing, thought-like beams,

And, then recognize their higher meaning

In your growing universe of dreams.

As with sunlight, tiny atoms quicken,

Into earth’s vast, living harmony,

Endless, untold worlds of thought awaken

When, at last, you grasp my mystery;

When the passion for those passing shadows,

For the higher, unseen things, you feel,

My dark beauty will no more elude you,

Haunting like a thing unknown, unreal.

You will someday reach beyond the limit

Even of our galaxy’s own shore,

Spreading thought like light into some dim-lit

Cavern that invites you to explore—

Then you will remember what first called you

To whatever heights your spirit leads,

And I will be smiling ever on you,

When you bend the distant stars like reeds!

Daniel is a poet living in Houston, Texas. He has spent much of his life fighting for the ideals of classical culture and poetry. His volume of poetry, compiling over 20 years of composition, is entitled "Voices on the Wind."

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